Advanced Marksmanship Shooting Wrong-Handed,

Sean the Nailer

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  • May 20, 2006
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    Yo all,

    Here's a bit of a twist for the masses here. I have stopped myself short, and have a problem. I have to "re-learn" how to shoot, with the wrong hand, wrong eye, and on the wrong side.

    All my life I've just naturally shot longarms righthanded. I'm right eye strong, and it just feels right, doing so on the right.

    And now, I have to start over, doing it all on the wrong side. Problem is, I now have a "vision issue" with the right, to which the retical stadia now look like a "heart-monitor readout". I've shot handgun wronghanded many times, just to practice, and be comfortable doing so. In the past.

    But I've never ever shot longarm wronghanded. That's just weird, uncomfortable, and darn-near blasphemous.

    And I have a comp in two weeks.







    So there you go, what do you have to say or suggest? I figured I'd salt this thread with enough "attention-get'rs" and challenges, to get some's dander up. That is all sarcasm and innuendo. Point is though, I gotta re-start, and relearn everything that I've accomplished in almost 35 years of shooting.

    Granted, I'm ALOT more aware of "bad habits" and whatnot, and trying my best to prevent doing anything that I know is wrong. I am re-starting all the fundamentals that I'm aware of. I am revisiting all the teachings and lessons that I have.

    But to re-format my brain for the vision, the shooting, and even the positioning, all in two weeks, and then compete. Well..... I'm not sure what to focus on most, other than I ain't gonna give up. My Lady is bound and determined to help as well, which is awesome! I figured though, it can't hurt anything to just throw this dilemma out there, and see what ya'll say.






    Short of the Ctrl-Alt-Del to reformat, that is. The times, they're interesting. Waiting for the Eyebologist appointment.

    Edited to add, how many of you actually practice this sort of thing? I mean seriously practice?
     

    Rifles Only

    Jacob
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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Constantly.
    Two eyes, two hands, two shoulders. You should shoot equally well from both sides.
    In fact, most shoot a bit better from the support side.
    Take the word "wrong" out of it and apply the fundamentals.
    Again, no voodoo, PR is an "if/then" skill set. If you do this, then this happens.
    Shooting is more between your ears than anything else.
    all it takes is practice and determination.
     

    longshotbml

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Trigger time, trigger time, trigger time. You've got 35 years of experience so you don't have to learn to shoot. You need to develop muscle memory. Shoot as much as you can. Ideally shoot everyday. While dry firing your comp gun will help, I feel it is more to shoot shots. Breaking shots and recording results will reinforce your habits. A pellet rifle in the basement would be great to help you. Be determined and do the work.
    Good Luck!
     

    Sean the Nailer

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Thank you both, for re-iterating my thoughts. To which I'll add:

    Jacob, the "wrong" was only put in there, cause I know there are so many left-handed shooters here. With the 'feigned' animosity about them, it is either "Right or Left" or "Right or Wrong". I went with the latter, figuring it would "draw them outta the woodwork".

    Longshot, the trigger time is what I'm working on. Started with the pellet rifle in the basement, then went to the range yesterday. I surprised myself by shooting roughly 1 3/8" group at 100m. 10 shots, 7 holes. I only shot 5 rounds at 200m. 4 in a 1" group, with a 5th being a 3 inch one I pulled.

    My problems are these, in this order:

    Move scope forward, as the eye relief is way to close.
    (not sure why there is such a difference, but it's near impossible for me to get a full sight picture.)

    Drop cheek-rest down, as it is too high.
    (again, not sure why, but I'll remove what I've put on there, and re-install thinner stuff.)

    Get back downstairs, do some more airgunning for more muscle memory.

    Tonight at the other range, we're starting at 300y for sighting in, them pulling back to 600y for practice. I'm looking forward to both.

    Thank you, and feel free to add/criticize. And believe me, I've the determination. Not sure about the time crunch, but I'm giv'n 'er for all she's worth.
     

    Sean the Nailer

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Just to update, we were shooting to 1k yards today.

    It was interesting, and the wind was "as always" entertaining. I'm getting the hang of this "straight behind the rifle" and actually concentrating with the left eye.

    The hardest thing for me to do so far, has been to pay attention to what my left is seeing, as opposed to my right. It's happening, just not fast enough for my liking. I'd rather be "confidenter" before a match.
     

    Powder_Burns

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Its doable, just takes a lot of practice and repetition. Its like learning the alphabet backwards or writing with your other hand--unless you HAVE to do it you would never try. I think the reason your eye relief and comb feels out of whack is because you aren't used to it so it does not feel natural. The more you switch back and forth between sides it will start to feel comfortable and normal. You might even find yourself re-adjusting your eye-relief and comb back to the position you had for your dominant side.
     

    Victor N TN

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Like I said in the PM, stick to the dry firing, and a lot of it. But make sure you get the form correct. Do it slowly if need be. Do it correctly first. The speed will come later. Like stated above, the muscle memory is what you're trying to build. The eye thing is all in your head...(pun intended.) You can practice shifting eye focus just looking at something close. It's hard to do. Very hard to get started correctly. But you can do it. Just practice every chance you get. I always try to dry fire at least 50:1 per shot fired. Remember the good snap caps. The all plastic ones won't hold up. Get the ones with the brass heads.
     

    Ratbert

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    If you're having problems getting your left eye to be dominant, try turning a butler creek ocular cap so that when it opens it pops out in front of your right eye. It will act a bit like a blinder and make it easier for the images coming into the left eye to take over in your brain. Give it a while like that for your mind to get used to this and you probably won't need it anymore.
     

    TOP PREDATOR

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    we're doing "fun matches" in the rimfire section doing support side, there's a few thoughts you can find there in the learnings section of both short range 4 position and longer ranges
    http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1532035&page=2

    http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1328297&gonew=1#UNREAD

    you'll have to scroll around alittle to get the "Support side learnings". alot of those learnings / tips transfer over to centerfire nicely, which is the point.

    good tip above from ratbert on the eye dominant thing, i have the same thing going on. you can also slip a "blinder" over the eyepiece, cut out of a flat piece of foam (or even cardboard). easy on / off and no scrathing the finish of your scope.
     

    Sean the Nailer

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Ratbert, great suggestion. I'm incorporating that for sure.

    TOP, checking out those links now. Thanks all, seriously.
     

    desertrat1979

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    I feel like I am in the same boat as you. I am a lefty and trying to get myself switched over to shooting my rifle righty. My issue is that my left eye cannot turn to the left, some kind of birth defect where the nerve never fully developed. This has over a lifetime caused me to become dominant in my right eye. If I spend too much time looking through the scope the image becomes fuzzy, and blurred. I tried to do it with both eyes open and I cannot get enough sight picture and whatever my right eye sees is mostly all I can focus on. I gave going righty a try and the comfort and ease of focusing my eyes is effortless.
     

    Sean the Nailer

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Well, let me add this to the pot:

    The comp has ended, and all is good. Seeing through the scope now, is so much different than it was to begin with. At first "it" and everything else about the position was just "wrong".

    Now, things are starting to level out. As has been suggested, and repeated, and stressed, it just takes practice and muscle memory.

    Both the body muscles, as well as they eye muscles.

    But most importantly, that muscle between the temples. (you know, that one that makes the furrows on your forehead) Even when you lay prone in the living room, focus on a target at the other end of the house, and work your dry-fire/reload/re-acquire routine, just keep at it and it'll come.

    I know I have so much to learn, so I'm not coming on here as an authority. Though I will say that someone else may/would come across this sometime, so this may thread may help.

    About half of my first post though, was a general question of "who actually trains and practices doing things the "wrong" way? ('wrong' being "my word", see the context) Jacob summed it up the best though, in his dissertative answer of:

    Constantly

    So there may be a thought to throw into the mix. Ya'll only ever start out with (at most) two eyes. God Forbid anything happens to them, but if it does, do ya'll have a contingency plan?

    I know I didn't. And I paid for it. I am trying, and am doing, and I am succeeding. But my life doesn't have the pressure and the immediacy that some of ya'll out there do.

    And yeah, this is the only way I can say in life, where I "go both ways"

    HA
    laugh.gif
     

    longshotbml

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    Glad to hear things are working out and the practice paid off. Just interested if you ended up using a blinder or you were able mentally concentrate on the non-dominant eye image. Personnally, it is impossible to shoot "wrong" handed without a little tape on the lens in front of my dominant eye. I have a harder time seeing my level but it beats seeing the side of the rifle vs. the reticle.
     

    Sean the Nailer

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    No, I didn't use a blinder. I did attempt to turn the Butler Creek scope cover to the side, to act as a "Ukrainian blinder", but it prevented the bolt from moving unhindered.

    So I mostly concentrated on keeping the right eye closed,,,, and believe me that sucked in itself. I've shot both eyes open for as long as I can remember. <<not a winker.

    Seriously was thinking about the black tape idea, but considering the different strings that were being shot, and how much my new glasses were worth, I was paranoid about affecting the new coatings and whatnot on my lenses. So I just "toughed it out".

    It is definitely getting easier to do, though it still feels "wrong". Progress is being made.

    The main points that I've just learned, though, have to do with improving my load, and learning more about wind. Short version is:

    I chased the hole with my turrets on all strings between first and last. The first, I got 72-4V (out of 75) with no wind at 800yds. The last, I got a football shaped waterline of 45-2V (out of 75). I got fed up with cranking turrets, and just said "screw it" and found what I was happiest with at the start. Then just kept holding center/center. (no Kentucky Windage'ing or Alabama Elevation'ing at all) and with the wind, and the gusts, at a thousand meters, I'm still happy with the results. Had I figured it out to do that sooner, I'da done better.

    Many were commenting about the conditions. That particular string at 1000 yards was:

    Partly cloudy. (sunny, with very few clouds)
    The range was shadowed by a small cloud, except for the actual target. It was lit up, like a Spotlight from God Himself.

    The wind was from 10 to 4 (o'clock) from 7 to 16 mph, gusting to 32 mph. With the odd "instant" drop to NOTHING. DAMMIT!

    Mirage. At this particular time, there was NO mirage on the target. There was earlier, definitely pronounced. At this time though, there was just a slight 'skim' of mirage on the ground, while there being NOTHING on the target. I could easily discern the scoring rings on the target at 1K with my Millett just set at 12x. The target being up on the berm, was above the mirage, and "pristine".

    I did the best I could, and now I know where I need to "get better".

    And THAT, was the reason for me throwing my hat into the ring. I didn't expect to 'clean' my first comp, but I'm more than happy that I didn't come in last, either. Surprised, actually.
     

    longshotbml

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,

    I should have mentioned that when I tape my lens I use that frosted tape you use to wrap presents. Lets in light but the image is blurred so the brain concentrates on the clear image. The adhesive is weak and a little dish soap and water will clean any that sticks to your lenses.
    Impressive resuls in tough condiditons. Congrats.
     

    ChrisF

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    Re: Shooting Wrong-Handed,


    I did this for 14 days straight on a Steyr AUG , because I was too cheap to buy glasses .

    What I found , was I had to realy concentrate on all the basics , and find ways to cure the weakness in my Left side as quick as I could , results to start with , where not good , and showed very slow almost non-existant progress .

    To FIX the weakness problems in by Left side , I pulled the hammer group from the AUG , smoothed out the plastic parts ( join line ) , and lubed with graphite powder , made a big diff to the pull weight & smoothness ( this was to compensate for weakn LH trigger finger ) , to address the arm weakness , I started to use a sling in all shooting posn .

    Later Chris